September 3 – St John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery (ONP #246)

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Set up on a knoll above Hamburg, beneath spreading old trees, and behind an indecisive stone wall, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery is a place many of the living (like me) just drive by. Today, desperate for a close-by new place, I decided to visit.

Designated a Berks County Historical Site, the most interesting part of the cemetery to me was the old part, with tombs from the 1700s and 1800s, most with inscriptions in German, the preferred language of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” settlers here until into the 20th century.

Much of the old German script was too worn to make out well, and the stones blackened with moss and age (or was that soot and factory dust?) The earliest grave I found (that I could easily read) was of a woman named Susanna, born in 1762, before the revolutionary war, and died in 1799. This is her little place now.